The Sui Dynasty lasted from 580-618 A.D. The Sui once again united China. They were led in their campaign to unite China by Yang Chien who had been an official of the Northern Zhou. The Sui Dynasty had only two emperors, Yang Chien who was called Emperor Wen Ti and his son Emperor Yang. Traditionally, Emperor Yang is portrayed as usurping the imperial power, and is criticized for the amount of money he spent and his cruelty to the people. Yet most of the policies he followed were simply continuations of his father's policies.
Despite having a short lifetime, the Sui Dynasty accomplished many things. The Grand Canal was extended north from Hangzhou across the Yangzi to Yangzhou and then northwest to the region of Louyang. The internal administration also improved during this time, which is evident by several things; the building of granaries around the capitals, the fortification of the Great Wall along the northern borders, the reconstruction of the two capitals near the Yellow River, and building of another capital in Yangchow. Confucianism also began to regain popularity, as the nobles gained importance.
The Sui rulers were interested in expanding their borders and, along with their public works projects, they began costly military campaigns. They were largely successful with their efforts at territorial expansion into the south. However, to the north, in Korea, they did not achieve much. They attacked Korea four times, and each time was met with defeat. These defeats in Korea led to an attack by the Khan of the eastern Turks who surrounded the emperor. Independent governments arose and for five years, China was again split into smaller states.
List of Emperors of the Sui Dynasty
Period of Reigns
Range of years